Looking for the best zero waste tips for less waste in everyday life? Then you are absolutely right here! In our Disposable society we produce an average of around 483 kilograms of waste per capita every year.₁ Avoiding waste is therefore easier than ever these days! Fortunately, the zero waste movement is no longer a new phenomenon and already has countless ideas and tips for you that are incredibly easy to implement.
In this article, I would like to give you the best and most valuable tips for avoiding waste in all areas of everyday life. It doesn't matter whether you're a zero waste beginner or advanced - just implement them into your life bit by bit. Let's go!
You can find a brief overview here in advance:
- Closing words
Definition: What is Zero Waste?
Zero Waste is a Waste-avoiding lifestyle and literally means "Zero waste". In the long term, the aim is to, to produce as little waste as possible in our own lives. Among other things, to Earth's natural resources and preserve a clean planet for future generations.
Advantages: Why Zero Waste?
The most important zero waste tip is certainly to always know why you should consciously avoid waste. Here are some Advantages and reasonswhich should serve as your permanent motivation:
Environment and Protect animals
Waste such as plastic waste is not biodegradable and (depending on the material) remain in nature for centuries. Garbage is not only an aesthetic, but above all a life-threatening disturbance factor. Especially for wild animals that eat it or strangle themselves on it.
Avoiding garbage means Earth's natural resources to conserve. This works pretty much automatically when Zero Waste is implemented. For example, since Food waste avoided, on Reusable alternatives set and as far as possible Packaging material is dispensed with will.
Reusable things you have to pay in the best case only once - You buy disposable products again and again. It's only logical that by avoiding waste, sustainable lifestyle saves money. At the same time, the costs for waste processing are also reduced, which means that your region benefits from financial savings.
Be a role model
Above all, zero waste also serves personal development. Those who consciously avoid waste are leading the way and are always aware that we all have a Responsibility for future generations (i.e. also for our children and grandchildren) on earth.
124 tips: How can you avoid waste in everyday life?
Now you know, why Zero Waste is so important is. So we can now well prepared and highly motivated to the practical tips for avoiding waste in everyday life.
I have divided them into classic categories to give you a better overview, but some of the tips may of course also help you in other areas of everyday life.
And another thing: nobody manages to make absolutely no waste these days. Just be aware, that every measure to reduce waste, no matter how small, makes sense.
Basic zero waste principles for beginners
- If possible, buy things only once.
- Use what you have.
- Prefer reusable instead of disposable.
- Buy used instead of new.
- Share, give away or trade things you don't need.
- Own things with long, rather than short, useful lives.
- Borrow and lend items that you don't need very often or for a long time.
- Prefer quality over quantity.
- Only buy things that you really need.
- Repair items if they no longer work.
- Make the things you want yourself.
- Talk to manufacturers to redesign products to be as waste-free as possible.
Zero Waste in purchasing and consumption
- Always have your bag when shopping or Backpack in the process.
- Buy products loose without packaging (at the unpackaged store).
- Replace plastic bags with Fruit and vegetable nets. (is available here*)
- Plan your meals ahead so you don't buy more than you need.
- Stick to your shopping list to avoid impulse purchases.
- Buy at the regional weekly market or directly from farmers.
- Prefer crooked fruit and vegetables and lonely bananas.
- Buy food in bulk packs if they last long enough.
- Before making any purchase, ask yourself if you really need this thing.
- Tell the cashier you don't need the receipt before it prints.
- Borrow literature from the library or buy it second-hand. (e.g. here*)
- Do something with your friends instead of shopping when you are bored or having a bad day.
- Before you buy something in emotional exuberance that you don't need, sleep on it for a night and then make a prudent decision.
- Donate unused or intact, used items to second-hand stores.
- Wrap gifts as plastic-free as possible in newspaper or simply not at all.
- Prefer experiences to material things.
- Buy children's toys used and sell them when you no longer need them.
- Sell and give away things you no longer need.
- Consciously avoid returns for online orders.
Further contributionsIf you want to delve deeper into the subject, I can recommend the articles Second hand advantages, Buy used goods, Live minimalist, Plastic free shopping and Sustainable online stores recommend
Avoiding waste in the kitchen and household
- Make your own Washing-up liquid made from ivy her.
- Replace cling film with Stainless steel lunch boxes and Oilcloths. (there's here* and here*)
- Organize your food supplies in Preserving jars, so as never to buy too much.
- Use tea towels and cloths instead of kitchen paper.
- Use pasta water to thicken sauces or to water plants.
- Get Glass drinking straws or stainless steel instead of plastic and paper.
- Use coffee grounds as a scrub, odour remover or natural fertilizer.
- Air clothes instead of washing them once they have been worn and are still clean.
- Always fill the washing machine and dishwasher properly before turning them on.
- Dry your laundry outside on the line instead of in the tumble dryer.
- Do away with the air conditioning and the permanently open tilt window and ventilate early in the morning instead.
- Plaster with reusable cloth rags.
- Make your own cleaning products. (e.g. DIY oven cleaner or DIY glass cleaner)
- Prefer reusable batteries instead of disposable batteries.
- Put the "No advertising!" sticker on the mailbox.
- End unnecessary subscriptions to newspapers, magazines and brochures.
- Fold your Garbage bags for organic waste made from old newspaper.
- Raise your child with reusable cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers.
- Use compostable Dog waste bags. (is available here*)
Further contributionsIf you would like to know more about these zero waste tips, take a look at the articles Saving energy in the home, Zero Waste Cleaning, Coffee grounds applications as well as Unsubscribe from advertising by mail.
Zero waste in nutrition
- Eat a plant-based, regional and seasonal diet and avoid meat & co.
- Save food with food sharing or apps like ToGoodToGo.
- Learn to use food completely. (see Utilize leftovers)
- Preserve food in jars to keep it for longer.
- Sort your food into the correct fridge compartments.
- Make your own Bread chips from stale bread her.
- Freeze food plastic free in glass, cloth, paper or cans.
- Cook fresh and avoid waste-producing to-go and ready-made meals.
- Stock up a little so that you can avoid ordering from delivery services in a hurry if things get stressful.
- Cook more of your dinner as lunch for the next day.
- Ask for plastic-free or reusable packaging materials when you do order food from a delivery service.
- Prefer natural home remedies to tablets when you feel a cold coming on.
- Drink tap water instead of water from plastic bottles.
- Turn leftover vegetables into smoothies or vegetable soup.
- Don't take the best-before date too seriously, and instead trust your senses when it comes to expired food.
- Buy tea in bulk and use a Stainless steel tea strainer to boil. (is available here*)
Further contributionsIf you want to find out more about the zero waste tips mentioned above, you can read the blog posts Preserving food for longer, Reduce food waste, Buy regionally, Seasonal shopping, Add flavor to tap water and Reasons for a vegan lifestyle read in.
As waste-free as possible in the bathroom and for personal hygiene
- Use bar soap in the shower and as a substitute for liquid hand soap.
- Make your own toothpaste or use toothbrush tablets. (is available here*)
- Use reusable metal ear sticks. (is available here*)
- Swap your plastic toothbrush for a Bamboo toothbrush on. (is available here*)
- Replace disposable pads and tampons with cloth pads and a Menstrual cup. (is available here*)
- Learn your Making sunscreen yourself.
- Turn off the tap when you shower or brush your teeth.
- Replace the disposable razor with a Stainless steel razor plane. (is available here*)
- Prefer plastic free Lip balm instead of plastic chapstick. (is available here*)
- Produce your own deodorant from natural ingredients.
- Go for washable cotton pads. (is available here*)
Furnishing and living in the spirit of the zero waste lifestyle
- Build your own furniture from old materials. (e.g. DIY dining table)
- Switch to LEDs for your light bulbs.
- Turn off your technology completely instead of going into standby mode.
- Turn old bed linen and towels into handkerchiefs and cloth bags.
- Use linen napkins instead of disposable alternatives for dining. (is available here*)
- Only buy the technical devices that you really need for everyday use.
- Just dress a little thicker instead of turning up the heat.
- Donate old furniture and other items to social institutions.
Zero Waste in your own garden
- Create a compost heap and produce soil from organic waste.
- Ask family, friends and neighbors before you buy a new garden tool.
- Collect rainwater with a cistern or barrel for irrigation.
- Grow your own food.
- Use old egg cartons and yogurt cups to grow seedlings.
- Receive and swap seeds at public swap meets.
- Water your garden when the sun has gone down.
- Fight pests in a natural way. (e.g. tansy against Colorado potato beetles)
Further contributions: If you want to know more about zero waste tips and a more environmentally friendly garden, be sure to take a look at the articles Sustainable gardening, Bird friendly garden and Proper composting inside.
Zero waste tips for your clothes
- Prefer durable clothing that is timeless and easy to combine.
- Only buy clothes that you will definitely wear.
- Consciously reduce the number of wash cycles.
- Use a natural moth repellent, such as cedar wood. (is available here*)
- Have damaged shoes repaired by a cobbler.
- Keep all spare parts in a designated place.
- Make a tote bag out of an old t-shirt.
- Swap clothes at a clothing swap party instead of buying them new.
- Have garments that are too big or too small adjusted by a tailor.
Avoiding waste in the office and at work
- Print documents on both sides if printing cannot be avoided.
- Use public transportation or carpool to work.
- Always have a reusable CoffeeToGo mug with it. (is available here*)
- Take food from home with you to avoid to-go waste during your lunch break.
- Digitize your office and reduce paper consumption.
- Use shredded paper as Sustainable filling material for parcels.
- Use recycled paper if paper consumption cannot be avoided.
Avoiding waste on the road and when traveling
- Don't leave home without a filled water bottle. (Here are the best drinking bottles in comparison)
- Use your bike, public transport or even car-sharing instead of your car.
- Refuse free promotional items and brochures in the pedestrian zone.
- When ordering in the café, please do without the straw.
- Drink your coffee at the table in the café instead of taking it with you in a disposable cup.
- Replace paper handkerchiefs with a Cloth handkerchief. (is available here*)
- Refill your water bottle with tap water on the way.
- Collect waste from the environment and dispose of it properly.
- Avoid the bakery bag if you consume baked goods directly anyway.
- Learn, to specifically avoid waste at festivals.
- Make sure that you can use the towels in the hotel several times.
- Always have a Zero Waste on vacation Travel cutlery set with it. (is available here*)
- Prefer a travel accommodation with a green, waste-avoiding philosophy.
- Organize a CleanUp and clear a vacation beach of trash.
- Refrain from souvenirs, which usually disappear in junk drawers.
Know zero waste tips and avoid waste in everyday life
How can you avoid waste in everyday life? The answer is not that complicated! In any case, you now have a whole cornucopia of practical tips for less waste in everyday life. Try to implement them one by one so that you can continue to reduce your personal waste. But also be aware that zero waste is a marathon and not a sprint where everything has to go perfectly 🙂
"We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly."Anne Marie Bonneau
However, you should always dispose of waste properly when it accumulates in order to protect the natural environment. Continue to conserve resources in your everyday life. I very much hope that my Zero Waste tips will help you and that you will get a little closer to a waste-free lifestyle every day.
Do you have any questions, suggestions or other tips for avoiding waste? Then I look forward to your comment.
PS: I have also written a detailed blog article for you with the Tips for plastic free living authored. Feel free to pick up more inspiration there now, too.
₁ ZDF: More household waste in 2021 than ever before (as of 19.12.2022), available at https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/wirtschaft/haushalt-muell-abfall-deutschland-statistik-100.html. [15.03.2023].